Various groups and churches across the world are taking part in the annual International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, overseen by the World Evangelical Alliance.
The international prayer event is on Sunday and again on Nov. 10, with this year’s theme being “Persecuted but not abandoned.”
“This November let us unite in prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters,” stated the IDOP organizers in a video posted to Vimeo earlier this month.
The video went through a few examples of recent persecution of Christians, including the bombings in Sri Lanka, violence in Nigeria, and crackdowns on churches in Algeria.
“Too many to count, too many unknown,” stated the video regarding the persecution found across the world. “All because they bear the name of Jesus.”
Godfrey Yogarajah, executive director of the WEA Religious Liberty Commission, said in a statement that over time “IDOP has served as a platform to highlight the stories of persecuted Christians and mobilise the global Church to respond to their plight.”
“Moreover, in so doing, the IDOP has also been a source of solidarity and encouragement to persecuted Christians by reminding them that they are part of a larger, global family of believers,” added Yogarajah.
“Let’s pray that in spite of the pressure and persecution, our suffering brothers and sisters — where ever they may be in the world — would stand firm in their faith, hold fast to the promises of God, and live victoriously in Christ.”
According to Open Doors USA, a Christian persecution watchdog group helping to promote the IDOP, research indicates over 245 million Christians are persecuted for their faith worldwide.
“That is 1 in 9 Christians in the world today,” explained Open Doors. “Open Doors invites individuals, groups and churches to participate in the International Day of Prayer by downloading reading guides, videos, sermon outlines, social media memes, and other tools made available each year.”
For this year, Open Doors put a special focus on India, a nation that currently ranks number 10 on their annual World Watch List of worst persecutors of Christians.
“Since the current ruling party took power in 2014, attacks have increased, and Hindu radicals believe they can attack Christians with no consequences. As a result, Christians have been targeted by Hindu nationalist extremists more and more each year,” the group explained.
“Converts to Christianity from Hinduism bear the brunt of the Christian persecution in India and are constantly under pressure by the state, their community and their families to return to Hinduism …”
Voice of the Martyrs USA, another persecution watchdog organization, uploaded a video to YouTube in August to spotlight the IDOP.
The video featured an interview with an anonymous North Korean evangelist who tries to share the Gospel within the isolated Communist dictatorship.
“Filmed on the Korean Peninsula, the film shares the true story of Pastor Han, who was assassinated by North Korean agents in China because of his effective gospel work among North Koreans,” stated Voice of the Martyrs.
“The story is told through the eyes of one of Pastor Han’s disciples, Sang-chul, a man who has followed his mentor’s footsteps by continuing to share the gospel with North Koreans despite the danger.”